Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Federal judge delivers setback to effort to free Ramaos and Compean

A federal judge in El Paso, Texas has resentenced former Border Patrol agent Jose Compean to 12 years in prison for his conviction on charges of using a weapon in the commission of a felony and other charges.

Compean, along with former agent Ignacio Ramos, was convicted in 2006 of shooting admitted and now convicted Mexican drug smuggler Osvaldo Adlrete Davila and trying to cover up the incident. The two men argued during their trials that they shot Aldrete, whom they believed was armed, in self defense. Aldrete denied having a weapon the day he was shot.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans prompted this week's new sentencing hearing. Lawyers for Compean said they are also asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The two former agents have been in prison since January 2007.

The case against the two prompted a massive outcry from supporters of the former agents who argued that U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton should have focused his office's efforts on prosecuting illegal immigrant Osvaldo Aldrete Davila for his drug-smuggling activities. Several supporters, including members of Congress, have asked President Bush to pardon the men, or at least commute their sentences.

Aldrete, who admitted smuggling several hundred pounds of marijuana on the day he was shot in 2005, pleaded guilty earlier this year to drug charges related to two smuggling attempts several months after he was shot in the buttocks while running away from Ramos and Compean. The same federal judge who sentenced the former agents ordered Aldrete to serve 9 1/2 years in prison.

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